“You can look at your orders without talking to the buyers.”
The vendor management style is gaining influence, he said, even though such systems are difficult with perishable products.
Relationships with retailers have changed over the years.
“All of our buyers used to be here,” Escene said.
“Now our buyers are in Cincinnati and they buy for the whole country,” he said. “They are looking at what they did last year.”
On the other hand, buyer-seller interaction hasn’t changed a lot for wholesalers, he said. Escene said he speaks to wholesalers three or four times a day.
The Pacific Northwest was home to 1,529 grocery retailers and 675 wholesalers in 2008, according to a comprehensive market report from Agri-Food Canada about the Pacific Northwest grocery market. Total retail food and beverage store sales equaled $28.7 billion in 2008.
The Costco Wholesale Group is based in Issaquah, Washington, and boasted the fourth-largest sales in 2007 of U.S. supermarkets and grocery chains. Meanwhile, Albertson’s LLC, of Boise, was 16th and WinCo Foods was 29th.